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Lilly and Boehringer launch first Lantus clone Basaglar in US

Starts biosimilar at 15% discount to Sanofi’s basal insulin product
Sanofi

Sanofi is finally facing direct competition to its already hard-pressed basal insulin product Lantus in the US.

Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim have launched their Basaglar copy at a 15% discount to Lantus (insulin glargine), which is already facing tough competition from other insulin products such as Novo Nordisk's Levemir (insulin detemir) and Tresiba (insulin degludec). Lilly and Boehringer's product is already on the market in Europe as Abasaglar.

The list price of Basaglar in the US is $316.85 for a pack of five autoinjector pens, which also undercuts Sanofi's Lantus follow-up Toujeo, as well as Levemir and Tresiba.

The competitive pricing has already encouraged pharmacy benefit manager CVS Health to include Basaglar rather than Lantus or Toujeo on its formulary from 2017.

Lantus made €3.54bn in the first nine months of 2016, with around €2.6bn of that total coming from the US market. Sales were down around 15% on the same period of 2015, partly because of competition and also as a result of the pushback against insulin prices, which have been rising steadily in recent years.

Lilly said this week that it will start offering a 40% discount to people who pay the highest out-of-pocket prices for its human insulin products, such as those who pay full retail price at pharmacies because they have no insurance or are in the deductible phase of their high-deductible insurance plans.

The company's action comes as some US politicians are asking for a federal inquiry into insulin prices, although Lilly attributes the decision to "recent changes in insurance benefit design in the US that have increased the cost of insulin for some people".

"Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim are proud to bring another proven effective diabetes treatment choice to people who may need a long-acting insulin to help control their blood sugar," commented David Kendall, vice president of global medical affairs for Lilly Diabetes.

"We know that starting insulin can be a challenging experience for some people with type 2 diabetes."

Basaglar could face competition in future from other biosimilar Lantus developers, including Merck & Co, which is fighting a patent infringement lawsuit from Sanofi after it filed for approval of Lantus biosimilar MK-1293.

Article by
Phil Taylor

16th December 2016

From: Sales

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